This lecture is introduced by Prof. Rosi Braidotti.
Democracy is assumed to be a Western phenomenon dependent on a specific history of secularization and modernity. Disastrous attempts to “export democracy” as ideological justifications of imperialist interests have exacerbated this narrow view. Yet, the bottom line of definition for democracy is society’s equal participation in determining its political autonomy. At this bottom line, can the otherwise irreducible markers of social difference (class, gender, race, ethnicity, culture, religion, etc.) stand above the equal share of political decision making? Answering this question cannot involve making exceptions for specific societies, specific histories, specific geographies, specific traditions. Hence, if democracy is of Western provenance or not is irrelevant, for, whatever the social-cultural tradition, the matter boils down to the same thing: whether a society can break down its own traditions of internal exclusion and external authority and assume the responsibility of equally shared decisions as to how to account for its past, how to determine its present, and how to envision its future.